What is your current role and what does a normal day look like and do you work autonomously?
As we are only a team of four, flexibility as a pharmacy technician and teamwork are essential. With only a two pharmacists, a dispenser and myself my day to day role is very varied.
When I’m not labelling, dispensing, checking prescriptions, I am sourcing medication, reviewing stock levels, usage and monitoring costs and wastage. My time is split between these activities and completing medicines reconciliations on the ward and advising patients on their TTO medication(to take out medication). Although there is supervision by the pharmacy manager I actively work alone and manage my own time organising my day to day activities and tasks that need to be completed. (we are the secret organisers you know)
As a community pharmacy technician, I really enjoyed the face to face engagement the building of relationships that can be achieved and the satisfaction of being on hand to help, not only when it came to the area of medication but being involved with people on a personal level.
As a secondary care technician, communication and teamwork are again key, being there for the patient when they are anxious or unsure and helping to guide them through the situations in hand, being that friendly approachable face to the pharmacy department providing guidance and advice on medication. The only negative in both settings would be the time constraints placed on being able to complete all of our tasks, especially when it comes to face to face contact with patients being able to spend that extra time can be a powerful thing and alongside good, open and clear communication is key in every aspect of what we do. This helps to ensure safe and effective use of medicines and improving patient outcomes.
What is your view on education and training for pharmacy technicians? Are they fit for purpose or is improvement required?
I think the current training and education although excellent in theory does not provide enough practical experience, the training itself has not changed for a number of years and it would be great to see more in-depth learning regarding communication/counselling skills, how to actually interact with a patient, listening and conversation techniques, how to problem solve and provide patient/customer service, mentoring programmes added alongside to add different perspectives and guidance on practical issues faced by a pharmacy technician engaging with a patient. Putting all of the qualifications I have achieved in one course is daunting, keeping them separate allows for growth and learning, honing skills to help improve the patient’s healthcare experience. A lot of pharmacy technician skills comes from being able to engage, listen, learn and problem solve but this only comes when practical experience has been gained.
How do you see the role of the pharmacy technician, in general, developing in the coming years? Do you think pharmacy technicians should be allowed to become independent prescribers?
It’s an exciting time to be a pharmacy technician with more varied and diverse roles being added all the time, specialising in clinics, patient safety and maybe one day independent prescribing. I think as a profession we are in an ideal position for skilled and specialised technicians to take part and provide these services. We will need support and suitable training but we have the chance to shape and improve the standards set and really highlight what we can achieve as a profession.